2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz for gaming: which one is a better option?
A majority of online gamers still employ Wi-Fi as their primary source of internet connection thanks to its reliability and ease of use compared to other cabled networks.
However, many online players often find themselves in a jumble when choosing the best type of Wi-Fi band for online gaming.
If you are among such gamers, it’s time to understand the difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz concerning to gaming. This will allow you to make an informed decision at the right time.
This article explores everything there is to know about the two bands, so give it a read and find out which one would better fit your gaming needs.
For starters, if you have a modern WiFi router, there is a big chance that your device supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t imply that both bands will serve your purpose alike.
While personal preference plays a significant role in choosing between various internet bands, other aspects are equally crucial in picking the proper band for gaming.
Below, we have done a broad analysis of 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, so the readers can quickly identify how the two connections differ in functionality.
Table of Contents
- 2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz for gaming: The key differences
- A quick comparison:
- Which Wi-Fi router is best for gaming?
- Wrap up
2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz for gaming: The key differences
A Dual wireless router can operate on two ranges: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Each range correlates with the number of cycles per second.
Hence, the 2.4 gigahertz, which is the widely preferred band for extended coverage, transfers data in more than two billion cycles per second. On the contrary, its counterpart transmits data in five billion cycles per second.
This considerable difference in frequency highlights the fact that both bands have remarkable differences in their working and thus diverse usage. Let’s study their dissimilarities in detail:
Essentially, the difference between the performances of the two bands boils down to their wireless range. And this range is innately dependent on the distance traveled through the solid object.
For example, the 2.4 GHz band will work the best for long distances, effectively reaching up to 300 feet.
That is, the solid obstacles will not interfere with this band’s performance, so it can continue providing reliable internet gaming connectivity.
Alternatively, the 5 GHz will produce more signals having a maximum range of 150 feet. Hence, making it the best choice for short distances.
This is because when the signals emanating from the 5 GHz Wi-Fi cover a long distance, they break their strength the more they travel further from the router, giving it a limited scope.
To conclude, if you are planning to get a long-distance connection for gaming, we suggest you invest in 2.4 GHz as it can reach an extensive distance without any interference.
However, if you want better performance and a short-distance connection, the 5 GHz Wi-Fi makes a good choice due to its strength.
We can say that the 5 GHz frequency is much faster than the 2.4 GHz.
Since the first can transmit up to 1300 Mbps in a comparatively shorter time, it offers a higher speed than the latter, which can carry around 600 Mbps.
So, if you need an internet band that works at optimum speed, then the 5 gigahertz Wi-Fi will be your best bet as it provides improved channels for communication while reducing game lag.
However, if range matters to you the most, you can set your device to 2.4 GHz.
When you have a wireless network at home, you tend to connect it to various electronics like Bluetooth devices, microwaves, and mobiles; simultaneously.
This creates significant interference in the connection, thus compromising the internet quality.
It is more likely to happen if your devices are operating on the 2.4 GHz frequency band because of its lower bandwidth, which may cause frequent disconnection issues and severe lagging during the game.
However, the 5GHz Wi-Fi devices will cause little disturbance since this Wi-Fi network features a higher frequency.
In addition, the 5 GHz router also offers more communication channels, which means even if the network is congested, it can supply you with a free medium to connect your device.
Therefore, if you have multiple devices connected to your router while you play online games, then it’s better to switch to the 5 GHz band.
This will not only sort out your lagging issues but will also let you concentrate on the game without restarting your internet device now and then.
Another distinguishing factor between the performances of both frequencies for gaming is penetration.
In a nutshell, the 2.4 GHz will effortlessly penetrate through different objects, whereas you would encounter severe issues with the 5 GHz connection.
Furthermore, similar to how the range works, smaller signals, i.e., 5 GHz, will require more time to penetrate obstacles like walls than its lower bandwidth alternative.
Hence, if the gamer is located in a room separated by walls, then the 5 GHz Wi-Fi would not be the best option.
If the object is metallic or a mirror, then both bands will display connectivity issues. Still, the 5 GHz band will suffer more due to its relatively weaker signal strength.
So, in situations where an obstacle is present between your gaming computer or console and the router, it’s essential to consider the penetrating power of both WiFi band frequencies.
The next contrasting factor between both band frequencies is the stability of the band, which is dependent on the interference.
Less interference means the signal is more stable and manageable by the router. Similarly, more interference suggests less stability and more interruption during gaming.
This means 5 GHz will maintain its operating speed and not drop connection in the middle of the game. On the other hand, with 2.4 GHz, you may encounter severe instability as the Wi-Fi is already connected to several devices.
Since most gamers prefer a steady connection, the 5 GHz band is a satisfactory solution for having an uninterrupted gaming session.
Number of devices
Ideally, fewer devices connected to a single router may perform better under all conditions. However, if you must connect multiple devices to a single Wi-Fi connection, it’s suitable to rely on a 5 GHz router.
This happens because when you connect more than ten devices to a 5 GHz connection, each one will operate at a speed of 160 Mbps.
In contrast, if the same device setup is working on the 2.4 GHz bandwidth, the speed may drop down to 60 Mbps, ultimately affecting the game quality.
So, when many devices are concerned, 5 GHz offers consistent connectivity.
Size of Your Home
Simply put, a smaller home will require a short-range Wi-Fi band as the coverage area will be substantially low.
In this case, the 5 GHz band will not only offer an incredible speed but also a lesser disturbance from neighboring devices.
However, the 2.44 GHz band will best suit a broader coverage area because of its greater range.
Cost is one of the critical factors that can influence a gamer’s buying decision.
Since the 5 GHz package is comparatively newer than the older bandwidths due to more improvements and advancements, it’s slightly more expensive than its 2.4 GHz counterpart.
So, as far as affordability is concerned, the 2.4 GHz package will best serve your needs.
Nevertheless, if you want a router that supports an impeccable gaming experience, you can consider investing in the 5 GHz wireless connection.
Furthermore, you may also buy dual packages with built-in bands so that they can serve your specific performance and quality needs.
A quick comparison:
|2.4 GHz||5 GHz|
|Larger range||Limited range|
|Susceptible to interference||Less susceptible to interference|
|The network speed is 600 Mbps||The network speed is 1300 Mbps|
|Suitable for larger homes||Suitable for smaller homes|
|Ideal for connecting with a limited number of devices||Suitable for multiple connections|
|Lesser stability||More stability|
|Affordable||Slightly more expensive than the 2.4 GHz band package|
|From a mobile device to a refrigerator, 2.4 GHz can connect to almost all household gadgets.||It can only connect with the latest wireless gadgets and gaming consoles.|
Which Wi-Fi router is best for gaming?
Gamers need a fast and uninterrupted connection with near-zero disruptions for a pleasant gaming experience.
While it’s true that 5 GHz can deliver an exceptional bandwidth at a closer distance than its competitor bands, the connection is somewhat irrelevant for gaming as it doesn’t penetrate through solid obstacles.
Therefore, it falls short of delivering what online games really need – good signals, more extensive coverage, and low latency.
Most importantly, a 5 GHz Wi-Fi performs inconsistently as one starts to add distance.
Thus, a 5 gigahertz band is more appropriate for HD/UHD streamers whose devices are nearer to the router.
Nonetheless, a network providing low ping and a better range, such as 2.4 GHz, works best when it comes to gaming.
How can you access your preferred gaming router?
Today, most households have more than one router, making it a hassle to choose the most appropriate one when needed.
This mostly happens when you are using a dual band router with both band frequencies; 5 and 2.4 GHz. In this case, you need to visit the Wi-Fi setting on your device and check available networks near your location.
Choose your preferred band and enter the SSID for that one. Remember, a dual package means separate credentials and SSID for both connections.
Simply enter the relevant details pasted on the back of the router, and you will be able to access your desired band.
Wired or Wireless – which is the best one for gaming?
Most gamers prefer a wired connection as it’s quicker and more reliable. While this article informs you about the functionality of two types of Wi-Fi packages, it’s more convenient to go for a wired network.
The process for obtaining a wired LAN is pretty simple. Connect the ethernet cable that is included in your Wi-Fi router to the device, and you will have your own wired internet for gaming.
To summarize, the 2.4 GHz band is slower and more prone to interference, but it’s the preferred choice for great distances.
Conversely, the 5 GHz connection is bandwidth-focused, has a good speed, and is less susceptible to disruptions from solid objects. However, it offers a limited coverage area.
Hence, both frequencies have their pros and cons, so the selection of the WiFi network ultimately comes down to your gaming choices and personal considerations.
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